Generally, the more time that has elapsed since your bankruptcy discharge and the faster you establish a positive payment history, the quicker your credit score will start inching out of the basement.
The payoff to your credit score can come relatively quickly with the right financial management practices. That's why it's critical to start establishing positive credit lines immediately.
"If you're doing all the right things, like staying current on payment obligations, opening new payment obligations and performing well on them, and keeping your balances low relative to your credit limit, your score can rebound from bankruptcy to a decent level where you can start qualifying for (unsecured) credit in around three years," says Ethan Dornhelm, principal scientist at FICO Scoring Solutions Division.
But Dornhelm cautions that in this credit environment it could take longer than a few years to boost your credit score to acceptable levels if lenders remain skittish and keep raising scoring standards.